Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why are Britain's judges covering up the sleazy behaviour of public figures?

Let us imagine the chief executive of a vast and profitable company that spirals hopelessly into debt and has to be rescued by the Government at enormous expense to the taxpayer.

The man, who happens to be married, leaves his job in disgrace. Later it is learnt that while his enterprise was slowly imploding he was carrying on an affair with a female member of his staff. A newspaper wants to publish this information, but is forbidden to do so by a judge.

The judge interprets Article Eight of the Human Rights Convention (which upholds the right to privacy) in favour of the former chief executive. Some might think it is significant that the businessman was involved in an extra-marital relationship when his company was going pear-shaped, but the judge sees no public interest in publication.

Not only that. He imposes a so-called ‘superinjunction’ which means that no media organisation is allowed to say an order has been granted by the judge or applied for by the ex-mogul.

Is this imaginary? I am not allowed to say. The public doesn’t know because there is a new phenomenon in this country called secret justice. For years it has operated in the family courts, where superinjunctions originated. The argument was that cases had to be secret because children were involved. Now secrecy is being extended to public figures who want to protect their reputations.

Usually, though not always, sex is involved. One notorious exception was a London-based oil company called Trafigura, which had been at the centre of a toxic waste-dumping scandal in Africa. In October 2009, its law firm, Carter Ruck, obtained a superinjunction prohibiting publication that was only lifted after a Labour MP asked a question in the Commons.

Most of the 20 or so other superinjunctions believed to have been granted in the past 18 months have to do with sex. Many involve sportsmen, and at least four of them England footballers. In one case, that of the captain John Terry, a judge lifted a superinjunction because he believed that the footballer was using it not to protect his privacy but his image and sponsorship deals. The other cases remain secret.

I have little or no interest in the sexual shenanigans of England footballers, but that is hardly the point. They are role models for many young supporters. It might also be argued that some of their energies have been expended ‘playing away’, which may have conceivably contributed to England’s consistently poor performance.

Moreover, the granting of injunctions works against the interests of the innocent majority of players. Because judges do not allow the general public to know the identity of individual miscreants, footballers who are utterly blameless and loyal to their wives — there are some — may easily be mistaken for adulterers.

Other non-footballing sportsmen have also been granted superinjunctions. So have a number of more prominent public men. It is difficult to understand why this should be so. My suspicion is that judges increasingly reflect the prevailing view of our ruling class that a public figure’s sex life should always be private, however aberrant it may be.

That was the implication of the ruling by Mr Justice Eady in the landmark case three years ago involving the now former motor racing supremo Max Mosley, who unbeknown to his wife indulged in sadomasochistic orgies for 40 years, and successfully sued the News of the World for invading his privacy by writing about two of the most lurid of them.

Judges are mortal beings with their own moral values, which in this area may very well be at variance with those of most people. Some of them are emphasising the privacy aspects of Article Eight of the Human Rights Convention while underplaying Article Ten, which promotes freedom of expression. Where sex is involved, disloyalty, depravity and unkindness must remain secret, if necessary through the force of a superinjunction.

This development is disturbing on various levels. One has to do with creating false reputations. I would have much less difficulty with Mr Mosley’s activities if he had been wholly open about them. As it was, he presented himself to his colleagues and the world in general as a pretty straightforward sort of chap, when he was what many people would describe as a deviant with sadomasochistic tendencies.

When I look at an Archbishop, I want to believe that he is what he presents himself to be. The same with a Prime Minister. But because judges are preventing the Press from revealing what some public figures have done in private, our suspicions are raised about everybody, so that our trust and respect for all public figures is shaken.

More pertinently still, the judicial taste for secrecy is apt to spread. Last Sunday’s Mail on Sunday revealed that the anonymity of a public servant in court on charges believed to be connected to child-sex offences has been protected by a superinjunction. This is very sinister.

If, God forbid, we had a Prime Minister who enjoyed ‘bunga-bunga’ parties during which he had sex with under-age girls — as Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy, is alleged to have done — might judges prevent the media from writing about them? Such a prospect no longer seems far-fetched.

And illicit sex, of course, often goes with drug abuse and financial corruption, as countless former cases confirm. If toxic waste-dumping allegations against Trafigura can be protected by a superinjunction, it is not hard to imagine that the financial misdoings of a captain of industry might also be out of bounds for the media, particularly if he could plead that his sexual privacy was in danger of being infringed.

The evidence that secrecy is spreading is strengthened by a story in yesterday’s newspapers about a wealthy financier being the first person ever to be granted anonymity in a libel case. ‘Mr Z’ claims to have be defamed by his relatives in a row over a multi-million-pound trust. Tellingly, he is accused not just of misappropriating funds but also of a sex offence. Mention sex, and a judge is likely to reach for a superinjunction.

The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, is currently chairing a committee looking into the use of superinjunctions, about which he is believed to have some misgivings. He is due to report before Easter. I wish I were more optimistic that he would produce some robust recommendations to reverse this creeping tide of secrecy.

I also strongly doubt there will be greater openness so long as Article Eight of the Human Rights Convention stays on the statute book. I can understand why the Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, should have called on newspapers to stop criticising judges in a speech on Monday, but he can hardly expect them to remain silent when the judiciary is responsible for effectively developing a privacy law and imposing secrecy in court cases — enormous changes on which Parliament has not yet spoken.

We need our own Bill of Rights — promised by David Cameron, but far from being delivered — to safeguard privacy but also the right of the Press to publish what is true, and could be argued by a reasonable man (not necessarily a judge) as being in the public interest.

The argument is not really about some England footballer who has a bit on the side with a lingerie model. It is about holding the rich and powerful — like that former chief executive I mentioned earlier — to account. One role of the Press is to ensure that public figures do not hide significant discreditable secrets. That role is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil. With things going the way they are, it is hard not to be profoundly depressed.


Britain's anti-cuts movement has jumped the shark

The term “jumping the shark” describes the moment that a TV series becomes a parody of itself, condemning itself to irrelevance. The origin of the phrase comes from an episode of Happy Days where the Fonz jumped over a leaping shark in a surfing competition. In all likelihood, Saturday will come to be remembered as the day that the anti-cuts movement jumped the shark, parodying itself so ridiculously that it can no longer be seen as a serious political force.

Consider the speeches given to the TUC march. PJ Byrne has written a fine article on the errors within these speeches, but even on a superficial level the speeches were ridiculous. Ed Miliband’s invocation of the suffragette, US Civil Rights and anti-apartheid movements only served to underline the speciousness his own cause. Where those groups had fought for freedom against government oppression, Miliband defended community centres and jobs for life in the public sector. The comparison is self-evidently ludicrous. Archbishop Cranmer's headline neatly summed it up: “Ed Miliband: I am Emmeline Pankhurst! I am Martin Luther King! I am Nelson Mandela!”

How unbecoming it was to see the British left, with its roots in honourable struggles for peace, universal suffrage and better conditions for the working poor, now little more than a mouthpiece for public sector unions. So, when did the British left stop caring about the poor and start caring about civil servants? When unions stopped representing the working poor and became a preserve of state workers. Today, only 15% of private sector workers are in a trade union, while 56% of public sector workers are (PDF source). The left can’t claim to be concerned about the poor while it's trying to protect relatively well-paid state workers from redundancy, which is a fact of life for workers in the private sector.

And, of course, there was UK Uncut's “occupation” of Fortnum & Mason and vandalizing of businesses around Piccadilly Circus. As Tim Worstall pointed out, Fortnum & Mason is owned by a charitable trust that donates about £40m every year to charity. Even the “tax avoidance” allegations against Vodafone and Boots are silly – tax avoidance is, by definition, legal. There's a good argument to be made in favour of simplifying the tax code to reduce avoidance, but to blame private companies themselves for acting lawfully is absurd. But the real point was class warfare, which is why the Ritz was also targeted. UK Uncut showed itself once again to be made of spoilt Marxist wannabes.

The campaign against the cuts was always unrealistic, but Saturday showed how much of the anti-cuts movement has lost its grip on reality altogether. The government should worry less about it, and cut faster and deeper without fear.


TSA banned from Seattle area restaurant?

Libertarian News Examiner reader Jason Gonella reported, "There is a story circulating about a restaurant that refuses to serve anyone employed by the TSA. That's a good start."

While it apparently hasn't been picked up by any credible mainstream media outlet (an oxymoron if ever there was one) it is all over the internet at places like The Consumerist and MoxNews.

(Just keep in mind the standing joke, "It's on the internet so it must be true." Translation: caveat emptor.)

Beyond the story's authenticity question, reader comments following The Consumerist article illustrate how far libertarian education still has to go.

Most of the commentary centers on questions of who can legally ban whom and whether discrimination laws that apply to "protected classes" should also apply to the TSA.

No one seems to get that a free society has no government mandated "protected classes," meaning anyone can discriminate against anyone as long as they don't initiate force, intimidation or fraud, and no government has any legitimate say in it.

Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, and all the rest is disgusting but totally free choice. And it's a matter of free choice for people – not "government" but people – to fight against it.

What if a restaurant bans gays?

With today's instant communication technology the word can spread almost instantly amongst decent, fair, moral, freedom-loving people of all persuasions to boycott and protest and shun anyone who practices such stupidity.

They can find out the restaurant's suppliers, who's carrying their advertising, who their regular customers are, and without initiating force or intimidation or fraud encourage them to stop.

And anti-gay people are free to continue to support the restaurant because they absolutely have the same freedom of choice as everyone else.

Many people will think it's not fair, but in a free society there will be no coercive government to run to. Instead of whining, the situation creates a perfect opportunity for people to launch gay-only restaurants or "everyone welcome" restaurants in direct competition with the bigots.

In a free society, the fact that a private business is "open to the public" does not make it "public property" subject to blind bureaucratic one-size-fits-all dictates.

Freedom is a true human value; the whiny emotion-driven mythology of "social justice" rammed down everyone's throats at the point of a gun is not.


Black GA Legislators Sue to Dissolve ‘Super-Majority White Cities’‏

Looks like California’s Marin County is not the only U.S. community that’s too white

The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of Georgia seeking to dissolve the city charters of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills. Further, the lawmakers, joined by civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery, aim to dash any hopes of a Milton County.

The lawsuit, filed in a North Georgia U.S. District Court Monday, claims that the state circumvented the normal legislative process and set aside its own criteria when creating the “super-majority white” cities within Fulton and DeKalb counties. The result, it argues, is to dilute minority votes in those areas, violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution….

Lead attorney Jerome Lee, of Taylor Lee & Associates, said the suit is novel. “The Voting Rights Act forbids a state from doing anything that affects the voting rights of minorities, except with a permissible purpose,” he said, citing the redistricting that takes place when the census documents population shifts. “In this case, it’s different because the state actually went outside the normal redistricting process and created these cities that have no meaningful state purpose.”

According to the 2010 census, Fulton County is 44.5 percent white and 44.1 percent black. About 54 percent of DeKalb County residents are black, and 33.3 percent are white.

Sandy Springs, created in 2005, is 65 percent white and 20 percent black. Milton, formed a year later, is 76.6 percent white and 9 percent black. Johns Creek, also formed that year, is 63.5 percent white and 9.2 percent black. Chattahoochee Hills, formed in 2007, is 68.6 percent white and 28 percent black, while Dunwoody, created in 2008, is 69.8 percent white and 12.6 percent black.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Britain's invisible police: In worst forces, fewer than 10 per cent are actually fighting crime

Fewer than one in ten uniformed officers in some police forces are available to man the front line at any one time, a damning report reveals today.

There are also more officers on duty on a quiet Monday morning than at any other time of the week – and the fewest just after midnight on Friday when levels of drunken violence soar.

Antiquated shift patterns, court hearings and training requirements mean that in two forces only 9 per cent of officers can actually tackle crime, the police inspectorate found.

Bedfordshire, along with Devon and Cornwall, came bottom of a study into what proportion of officers in England and Wales are available to answer 999 calls or patrol the streets – the definition of front-line work.

The watchdog found many other forces fared little better, with an average of 12 per cent of officers available to catch crooks and keep people safe. The findings come despite vast increases in police budgets over the past decade.

The figures include officers and Police Community Support Officers. In some forces PCSOs typically do not work after 8pm.

Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Denis O’Connor also highlighted how one in three members of the police workforce is not employed in a front-line role. These include staff working in personnel, maintenance and administration.

Sir Denis said visible police ‘pay the rent’ because they are what the public wants to see and boost confidence in the service.
'Oh look, the first policeman of spring' He called on forces to consider how many officers they assign to front-line roles and whether they are available when demand peaks.

Inspectorate officials set out to examine how chief constables were using the manpower available to them. They found huge differences among the numbers of police officers and PCSOs who are available for duty.

At the bottom end of the scale with Bedfordshire and Devon and Cornwall were Kent and Greater Manchester which also had fewer than 10 per cent of officers on the front line.

At the top, Merseyside made almost 17 per cent of uniformed staff available for the work that matters most to taxpayers.

Sir Denis said there was a limit to the proportion of police who could be available because of the need to cover duties around the clock. Forces need to employ up to six officers to effectively cover one post 24 hours a day for a week.

The watchdog was asked by ministers to define the ‘front line’ and examine what proportion of officers were ‘available’ to the public. Sir Denis said debate continued to rage over what constituted ‘front-line’ policing, but added that it was those in everyday contact with people to keep them safe and enforce the law.

A survey of police and members of the public found most agree that those answering 999 calls and patrolling the streets are on the front line.

Sir Denis revealed that his staff faced resistance from some chief constables and that 21 forces out of 43 did not reply to a survey. But the findings will be examined closely by ministers who believe police leaders can manage budget cuts without damaging front-line performance.

However, Sir Denis warned that back and middle-office functions were not ‘disposable assets’, because forces needed trainers, accountants and IT experts to operate effectively. He added that there were few obvious candidates for cuts, even in back-office roles.


7 Topics We Can't Have Adult Conversations About in America

John Hawkins

In a world where politics has become all-consuming and there's an interest group looking for an opportunity to exploit every issue, it has become almost impossible to have adult conversations about certain subjects. The moment you try to do so, legions of grievance mongers, ideologues and bottom feeders start belting out scripted responses that have nothing to do with the topic at hand and everything to do with what they imagine your motivations to be and how ugly, stupid, and flawed they think you are as a human being.

What this means is that certain crucial issues never really get discussed in this country. Instead, we just end up with people insulting each other back and forth. That's too bad because these are not small matters. To the contrary, they're rather consequential and they deserve to be seriously discussed instead of treated like partisan footballs.

1) An Overly-Feminized Society: Women have come a long way in the last fifty years, but you'd hardly know it from the feminist rhetoric we hear. Maybe instead of raging against the patriarchy, we should start asking if men are now getting the short end of the stick. Does that sound wacky? Tell that to a dad who's fighting for custody of his child in divorce court. How about when it comes to abortions? We keep hearing that it takes two people to make a baby and that both parties are responsible for raising a child; so how come the father is locked out of the decision-making when it comes to deciding whether there's going to be an abortion? If women are earning 57 percent of the college degrees these days, maybe we should be asking how our education system is failing our young men. Women may feel like they still have it tougher, but percentage-wise, there are probably as many men who feel like our gender is the one getting the raw deal. The difference is that men aren't usually willing to say it out loud.

2) Illegal Immigration: If you try to discuss the problems associated with illegal immigration, the only response is, "You just don't want Hispanics here!" That's really shorthand for, "We don't ever want to have a real discussion about the issue." Here's the simple reality: Because we have so many poor Hispanic countries near our southern border, the majority of illegal immigrants in this country is ALWAYS going to be Hispanic. We can never seem to get past that fact to really talk about all the other issues associated with illegal immigration. For example, are illegal immigrants putting Americans out of work? Are they driving down salaries that American workers are paid? If we allow illegals in the country to have citizenship, won't that just encourage more illegal immigrants to come here? Does it really make sense to allow millions of manual laborers, most of whom are poor and uneducated, to become American citizens who'll be eligible for welfare, food stamps, and Social Security? Wouldn't that just be importing poverty into the country? Are the millions of illegals in this country actually changing our culture for the worse? Should we put an end to birthright citizenship for the children of two illegals? Could it actually be dangerous over the long term to have millions of people here who aren't loyal to the United States and believe they have a right to be here illegally because the southern United States is "stolen land?"

3) Legal Immigration: Despite the attempts to conflate this problem with illegal immigration, it's a very different issue. For one thing, most Americans agree that legal immigration is a good thing -- at least to a certain extent. Still, if we start with the presumption that we do have a right to control who enters our country and that the goal of legal immigration should be to improve life for the people who are already here, there are a lot of important questions that deserve an answer other than, "You hate immigrants." We need to start asking: Should our immigration policy be based on merit instead of family connections? We're the most desirable location in the world; so why not take the best of the best? If we were actually bringing in rocket scientists, engineers, and computer programmers, then maybe it would be time to ask if we should increase the number of people we're allowing to immigrate to our country. Our immigration policies are actually changing the racial make-up of our country. Should we put a stop to that? Should we focus on bringing in more people from Western nations with similar cultures? How about we make immigrants ineligible to receive welfare or food stamps? These are all very relevant questions that we never really have any back-and-forth on. That should change.

4) Our Deficit Spending: A lot of people would argue that we do discuss this issue seriously, but that's not really the case. Many people give lip service to the idea that our spending is "unsustainable" and theoretically agree that we need to do something about it, but they fiercely resist actually getting down to brass tacks and distract, distract, distract when it's time to talk about real world solutions. Realistically, we cannot get our spending under control without dealing with Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, on the state and local level, union pensions have to be dealt with. Then there are taxes. Here's the truth: Taxes must go up at some point and we can't tax the rich enough to fix the problem. What that means is that the middle class must pay more in taxes, not for better services, but to pay for what we've already spent. If you disagree with what conservatives like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul have come up with, that's fine and dandy. Just present your own numbers that explain how we're going to pay off a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit, a 14 trillion dollar debt, and 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Medicare/Social Security liabilities without cutting NPR, PBS, cowboy poetry or anything else liberals think is essential.

5)Gay Marriage: Our republic has survived for 200+ years without gay marriage. Up until the last couple of decades, even gay activists weren't seriously trying to redefine marriage. So now, suddenly, anyone who opposes it is a homophobe? How about we discuss the fact that being pro-gay marriage is incompatible with being a Christian? Isn't forcing Christian churches to have gay marriages a violation of their First Amendment rights? Isn't it entirely possible that gay marriage could cheapen and demean heterosexual marriage leading to less marriages, which would harm society? Should we be doing something that helps mainstream an extremely unhealthy lifestyle? Why do we need a religious ceremony for gays when civil unions could supply the same legal rights without being nearly as controversial?

6)Racism: At what point can we all stop pretending that America hasn't done a 180 degree turn-around on race issues since the sixties? People yell “racism" so much these days that you'd think Democrats like Bull Connor and George Wallace are still around persecuting black Americans. Could we start by perhaps acknowledging that affirmative action is immoral government-sponsored racism against white Americans that undermines the achievements of all African Americans? Is it worth discussing the possibility that the sky-high illegitimacy rate in black America is ten times more of a factor in their problems than racism? How many black Americans fail simply because they've been told their entire lives that they're victims and that the deck is stacked against them? How about black racism? Louis Farrakhan, who's well liked in black America, is as much of a scumbag as a KKK leader and everyone knows black Americans supported Obama over Clinton purely because of his skin color. We rightfully condemn racism and race hatred amongst whites; so why do blacks get a pass on the same issue? Can we also admit that being black is often a huge advantage in pursuing scholarships, getting promotions, and avoiding getting fired? When the president of the United States is black, isn't that a pretty good indication that racism has become a very minor factor in American life?

7) Radical Islam: There's plenty of talk about radical Islam, but few genuine conversations about the subject because there are so many difficult questions to answer. How do we define a moderate Muslim? How do we tell the difference between the moderate Muslims and the radicals? Shariah law is barbarism that's incompatible with Western civilization. How do we stop it from spreading here? Should the unique problems associated with Islam affect our immigration policy? Why aren't more moderate Muslims speaking out against radical Islam? There are already Americans who've been intimidated by the violent threats of radical Islamists. What's the best way to keep those threats from inhibiting free speech? These are not bigoted questions; they're questions being asked by Americans all across the country. Unfortunately, instead of talking it over, some people would rather play the victim and scream "Islamophobia." It's not Islamophobia to question why parts of Islam have become so intertwined with murderous violence and why more Muslims aren't renouncing that violence the way people from other religions have in similar circumstances.


Australian Liberal Party MP says debate being stifled over 'racism' fears

The Liberal party is Australia's major conservative party -- odd though that will sound to Americans

THE Liberal senator widely attacked for describing Islam as a totalitarian ideology has warned that Australians at odds with the "politically correct" orthodoxy are being forced to whisper their views for fear of being labelled racists.

South Australian senator Cory Bernardi has also demanded migrants observe Australian customs and core values, urging the nation to reject a path of "isolation and separatism" by tolerating breaches of the nation's "social covenant" by newcomers.

But the nation's first Muslim MP, Sydney's Ed Husic, has rejected the comments, saying no-one needs to whisper opinions that represent considered and thoughtful argument.

Last month Senator Bernardi said in a radio interview: "Islam itself is the problem, it's not Muslims. Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology."

The comments provoked a storm of critics, with Julia Gillard accusing the Liberals of "race-baiting" and demanding Tony Abbott dump Senator Bernardi as his parliamentary secretary.

Yesterday Senator Bernardi launched an impassioned defence of his stance on his website in a blog titled "The Whisper Zone".

"Those who speak publicly, - normally these are people of a conservative or traditional viewpoint - are too often shouted down, mocked and derided simply for expressing a viewpoint that does not align with the prevailing PC orthodoxy," Senator Bernardi wrote.

"This has the effect of silencing people because they are afraid of being intimidated and ridiculed.

In effect, they are reduced to whispering their views to others." Mr Husic, who holds the seat of Chifley, said Australia was a democracy where people were free to express their views.

"But in doing so, we should also be mindful that what we say, where these views may not be based on fact, can cause hurt or marginalise," Mr Husic told The Australian Online.

"People in public life have to be especially conscious of this. "I'd respectfully suggest there's no need to whisper considered, thoughtful argument."

"If one's views aren't based on fact or are indifferent to others in a rush to make a headline, then perhaps keeping those views to oneself is the best course of action."

Senator Bernardi said he was not precious or thin-skinned, but noted that it seemed publicly acceptable for Labor MPs like Kevin Rudd and Chris Evans, as well as independent senator Nick Xenophon, to express concerns about particular groups, while he was shouted down for expressing his views.

"If the cost of raising legitimate community concerns, whether or not others actually agree with the question raised, leads to lies, smears, irrational accusations of racism and bigotry, then we really do have a problem with free speech in this country," he wrote.


Conservati​ve Compassion Vs. Liberal Pity

I've always seen President Bush as a Christian gentleman rather than as a conservative but the author below argues that his idea of compassionate conservatism was important and transforming. The argument that the Left are at best motivated by pity rather than compassion is cogent -- JR

A remarkable feature of President Bush’s pronouncements is his unashamed use of the “L” word. Mr. Bush calls his political philosophy “compassionate conservatism,” but he is not afraid to say the older, stronger word that gives that philosophy its meaning. The word is love.

Mr. Bush used the word when, during the presidential campaign, he was confronted by a man who spoke loosely and negligently of illegitimate children and the welfare system. When the man uttered the word “bastards,” Mr. Bush became angry. “First of all, sir,” he said, “we must remember that it is our duty to love all the children.” The president was similarly unflinching in his inaugural address, in which he spoke of “failures of love.” In that address Mr. Bush spoke, too, of “uncounted, unhonored acts of decency,” an allusion to Wordsworth’s lines describing

that best portion of a good man’s life;
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

Many conservatives are skeptical of the notion of mixing love and politics. Memories of the sloppy radicalism of the 1960s, with its “Summer of Love,” can sour almost anyone on love’s “significance as a principle of order in the human soul, in society and in the universe,” as T. S. Eliot put it.

But the taint goes deeper than the sixties. Long before the hippies exhorted a now-defunct counterculture to “make love, not war,” the parties of the Left sought to make love a first principle of politics. The socialists invoked the idea of love in their struggle against market liberalism: they believed that the modern system of loveless labor could be replaced by a model of community grounded not in competition but in mutual care.

The error the socialists and the welfare-state liberals made was to suppose that love’s efficacy can be gradually extended beyond the bounds of the family and the tribe, where it spontaneously creates desirable patterns of order, into larger communities, where it does not.

Wherever we see love required to perform a large, public role, we find that it almost always degenerates into pity. Hannah Arendt, the German Jewish émigré and New York intellectual, illuminated the distinction between love and pity when she drew attention in "On Revolution" to a theme in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Arendt described how the novelist, in the story of the Grand Inquisitor, contrasted the loving compassion of Jesus with the eloquent but disastrous pity of the Inquisitor:

"For compassion, to be stricken with the suffering of someone else as though it were contagious, and pity, to be sorry without being touched in the flesh, are not only not the same, they may not even be related. Compassion, by its very nature, cannot be touched off by the sufferings of a whole class or a people, or, least of all, mankind as a whole. It cannot reach out farther than what is suffered by one person and still remain what it is supposed to be, co-suffering.

Its strength hinges on the strength of passion itself, which, in contrast to reason, can comprehend only the particular, but has no notion of the general and no capacity for generalization. The sin of the Grand Inquisitor was that he, like Robespierre, was “attracted toward les hommes faibles,” not only because such attraction was indistinguishable from lust for power, but also because he had depersonalized the sufferers, lumped them together into an aggregate—the people toujours malheureux, the suffering masses, et cetera.

Pity, Arendt argued, is a concern for the misery of another unprompted by intimacy with, or love for, the sufferer. Compassion, by contrast, is a love directed “towards specific suffering” and concentrates on “particular persons.” It can be exercised only by individuals or small groups, not by agencies or bureaus. Pity, Arendt wrote, “may be the perversion of compassion.” Because the pitier “is not stricken in the flesh,” because he keeps his “sentimental distance,” he has often shown “a greater capacity for cruelty” than the confessedly cruel.

The type of compassion that modern liberals claim as their own peculiar virtue is really a form of pity, milder perhaps than that which lies at the heart of the socialist orthodoxies, but dangerous in its own right.

David Hume called pity “counterfeited” love. It is the false compassion that results when men exercise their kindness by committee. It is the look in the eyes of the welfare clerk or the public housing official. To be pitied by another man is to stand humiliated before him; however well-intentioned programs grounded in pity may be, they always end by laying low their intended beneficiaries. Pity does not lead to a flourishing in the pitied, though it may provoke their resentment, even their rage; the act of pitying is always a kind of strength condescending to weakness. Love awakens; pity oppresses.

Driven by a belief in the redemptive power of love, President Bush has tried to mobilize America’s little platoons of compassion on behalf of the wayward, the needy, the outcast. Even so, pity still prevails in government. Proposed changes in the law, to involve the institutions of civil society in the distribution of public assistance, languish in limbo.

Religious institutions, for example, do a better job than purely secular assistance programs in helping people fix those inner defects of character that account for so much failure and distress, but our modern poor laws hinder the compassionate work of these organizations.

Whatever one’s idea of the truth of particular religious creeds, society benefits when people engaged in social work are able to see promise in the people they are charged with helping. Faith in God, Father Raphael says, is crucial to the work of the non-denominational Abraham House—as well as to its success. He calls the place a “little parish, a parish of offenders.”

His faith, Father Raphael says, not only helps him to see the “grace God can work” in fallen men; it also helps him overcome the fear a man naturally feels when he works under the ever present threat of violence.

Compassionate assistance cannot, of course, be a substitute for the punishment of criminal acts or atonement for wrongdoing. And we must remember, when we speak of compassion’s healing virtues, the ineradicable element of evil in human nature. No doubt most people do too little to resist the evil in themselves; but for the much smaller group who embrace the malignant power they discover in their hearts, even acts of kindness and of love may fail to redeem.

But although in many cases compassion can heal, institutions that have the power to do more than pity people who, unrepaired, will go on to wreck other lives continue to be shut out of public almsgiving. Abraham House receives no government money. In order to qualify for funds, it would have to compromise the principles that make it effective. “We tried many, many times,” Father Raphael says. “We went to Albany. We saw the people from the state and from the city, telling us, ‘Oh, you have to compromise with us, to change a little bit your philosophy, because we can help you.’ But our philosophy is that we cannot erase the spiritual way we deal with human beings.”

To understand how different from the compassionate ideal is the reality that bureaucratic pity has constructed, consider the example of the public school system. Compassion is at least as key in education as in almsgiving. A teacher’s faculty of sympathetic insight into his students’ minds and imaginations is precisely what shows him each one’s special potential. We do not, when young, know who we are; it is in the course of being educated that we come to understand what we must be. The teacher whose vision is sharpened by compassion helps to awaken those processes of self-culture that enable his student to develop his own peculiar gifts and aptitudes.....

Even though the liberals’ reign of pity has filled America with shabby housing projects and grim schoolhouses destitute of beauty and love, the Left has won a reputation for compassion, while conservatives are thought to be coldheartedly indifferent to human suffering. How did this come to pass? Partly because, with the decline of classical liberalism, conservatives became the principal defenders of liberty of trade. In their effort to rescue market principles, they forgot the role that love plays in ordering those parts of society that the mores of the marketplace do not govern.

But there is another reason. Unnerved by the success of the progressives, many conservatives reasoned that, since they could not possibly beat their opponents, they must join them. In a spirit of pessimism and opportunism, these conservatives abandoned their own principles. A mistake: they gave up the chance to formulate an alternative theory of compassion without gaining in exchange a reputation for charity.

If the liberals built up a regime of pity both to halt the spread of more sweeping forms of socialism and to assuage their own guilty consciences (in agony over the fact that some of them are rich), the pessimistic conservatives did so to outfox the liberals. One sees this dark cleverness at work in the careers of conservatives as different as Otto von Bismarck and Richard Nixon.

Bismarck, strictly speaking, was not a conservative: he was an idiosyncratic reactionary who, in the words of his English biographer, A. J. P. Taylor, followed by turns Marx and Metternich. In the 1880s, a decade after he had unified the German nation, Bismarck implemented a far-reaching program of social welfare insurance, grounded in the then-revolutionary idea of old-age pensions. The reforms he oversaw were, he believed, inevitable; better, he thought, that he, rather than the liberals or the radicals, should carry them out, for he at least could be relied upon to mitigate the damage.

These reforms were admirable in theory, and, had they been implemented in a different spirit, they might have proved beneficial in practice. But the Iron Chancellor enacted his program in a manner calculated to diminish personal liberty and increase the authority of the state. Bismarck, Taylor wrote, did not “promote social reform out of love for the German workers.” His object was to make workers “more subservient” to the state.
Bismarck “provocatively rejoiced,” Taylor wrote, “in echoing Frederick the Great’s wish to be le roi des gueux, king of the poor.”

But the merriment was deceptive, for the old Junker was at heart a pessimist. With his nervous anxieties, his gastric ulcers and temper tantrums, his nights with his cigars and his “Black Velvet” (a combination of stout and champagne he concocted himself), Bismarck was not at home in the modern world he felt powerless to stave off completely, nor was he in the least sympathetic to its aspiration to lift up the masses through social legislation. “I have spent the whole night hating,” he announced one day, when he was the most powerful man in Germany and perhaps in Europe, and might be supposed to have been on good terms with his planet.

In trying to outmaneuver his enemies, Bismarck laid the foundation for the socialist state envisioned by the nineteenth-century German economist Johann Karl Rodbertus, one of the earliest theoreticians to reconcile nationalism and socialism in a Romantic ideal of the super-state. Rodbertus thought it possible to re-create, in a nation-state organized along socialist lines, the communal purpose that had propelled the city-states of antiquity to greatness. In his theories lay the inspiration of a number of socialisms—National Socialism, Leninism, the Stalinist idea of “socialism in one country.” Bismarck was under no illusions about men reaching greatness; but in combining nationalism and socialism, he prepared the way for a successor who did nurse such dreams: Adolf Hitler....

Believing that Western civilization had passed its peak and begun to decline, both Nixon and Bismarck formulated their apparently compassionate programs out of a combination of cynicism and disillusionment. Ostensibly conservative, they never thought to address the problem of compassion in a conservative way; full of hate, they could never have grasped the transformative potential of love.

Possessed by morbid drives that defy easy psychological analysis, they pursued a revolutionary domestic policy, not because they had any faith in its merits but in order to be revenged on their enemies and consolidate their power.

Conservatives have come a long way since then. Unlike their counterparts 30 years ago, they’ve learned where compassion fails to thrive. They know that governments are not structures of love—any more than markets are. More important, they understand, as Burke and Tocqueville did, the power of civil society.

Conservatives today are showing that the state can mobilize civil power in new ways, in order to multiply the little platoons of compassion and to tap society’s deep reservoirs of love. From government-funded school voucher programs that give kids the chance to experience real teaching, to faith-based welfare reforms that actually promote welfare, these policies are designed to replace the pity that rots lives with the compassion that can transform them.

That’s what makes compassionate conservatism conservatism’s revolutionary idea.

Much more HERE


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

This is about as silly as using models to predict global warming. One might reflect that almost all prophecies are wrong. I live in a very secular society (Australia) where only a small minority are churchgoers but many churches are well-attended nonetheless. And in Britain, the Church of England may be in decline but Pentecostal and other more fundamentalist churches have growing memberships

A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers. The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team's mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.

The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Their means of analysing the data invokes what is known as nonlinear dynamics - a mathematical approach that has been used to explain a wide range of physical phenomena in which a number of factors play a part.

One of the team, Daniel Abrams of Northwestern University, put forth a similar model in 2003 to put a numerical basis behind the decline of lesser-spoken world languages. At its heart is the competition between speakers of different languages, and the "utility" of speaking one instead of another.

"The idea is pretty simple," said Richard Wiener of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and the University of Arizona. "It posits that social groups that have more members are going to be more attractive to join, and it posits that social groups have a social status or utility. "For example in languages, there can be greater utility or status in speaking Spanish instead of [the dying language] Quechuan in Peru, and similarly there's some kind of status or utility in being a member of a religion or not."

Dr Wiener continued: "In a large number of modern secular democracies, there's been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40%, and the highest we saw was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60%."

The team then applied their nonlinear dynamics model, adjusting parameters for the relative social and utilitarian merits of membership of the "non-religious" category. They found, in a study published online, that those parameters were similar across all the countries studied, suggesting that similar behaviour drives the mathematics in all of them. And in all the countries, the indications were that religion was headed toward extinction.

However, Dr Wiener told the conference that the team was working to update the model with a "network structure" more representative of the one at work in the world. "Obviously we don't really believe this is the network structure of a modern society, where each person is influenced equally by all the other people in society," he said. However, he told BBC News that he thought it was "a suggestive result".

"It's interesting that a fairly simple model captures the data, and if those simple ideas are correct, it suggests where this might be going. "Obviously much more complicated things are going on with any one individual, but maybe a lot of that averages out."


British government to crack down on the 'no win, no fee' lawyers

Kenneth Clarke will today sound the death knell for 'no win, no fee' deals which encourage ambulance-chasing lawyers to pursue frivolous cases. Victorious solicitors will now have to take a share of the damages awarded, rather than claiming huge success fees.

The Justice Secretary will also raise the maximum damages which can be awarded in small claims courts from £5,000 to £15,000. Mr Clarke wants as many people as possible to settle civil disputes through this less bureaucratic system, where costs are kept to a minimum, or by mediation.

Lawyers are not always needed in small claims courts, and many 'no win no fee' solicitors do not operate in them because there is not enough money to be made.

Everybody lodging a civil claim for damages will be forced to consider mediation. A similar move is planned for divorce cases.

Mr Clarke will say the aim is to reverse a trend which has seen Britain become a 'very, very legalistic and litigious' society in which huge sums are paid to 'fat cat' lawyers.

Many of those in 'no win, no fee' deals claim success fees up to 100 per cent of legal costs at the expense of the person or organisation that loses. Some claims are more than 1,000 per cent of damages.

Campaigners say the payouts have had a 'chilling' effect on freedom of speech, forcing scientists, writers and newspapers to settle even flimsy libel accusations out of court rather than risk the huge costs of losing. NHS trusts have also been affected in this way.

In future, lawyers will take a share of the damages awarded to the winner – the same as in the U.S.


For every sensible citizen of Middle England, resorting to the law has become something to dread.

Frivolous claims are brought against small firms; legal costs grow out of all proportion to the value of the damage done; fines are imposed but never collected.

Too often the system seems to create problems, rather than solving those which caused the dispute in the first place.

For most people, fighting a case, enforcing a contract or resolving a dispute with a neighbour means months of anxiety, hassle and delay. More often than not, the only certainty is that the bill, when it arrives, will be larger than expected.

Today I am announcing reforms which I hope will begin to tackle the compensation culture and restore a sense of proportion to our legal system.

First, we will encourage people to solve their disputes through formal mediation rather than heading straight to court with all the cost and time that entails.

Second, we will fix the 'no win, no fee' agreements which have made it so costly for businesses to defend spurious claims that they often pay out, even when they know they are in the right.

And third, we will put more cases into the quicker, cheaper small claims and county courts, keeping costs down even further.

I hope that one day, normal citizens will regard going to a lawyer as a sensible way of sorting out a dispute – not the expensive nightmare that people fear now. These reforms are the first important steps towards that goal.

This will be capped at 25 per cent of the damages awarded by the court.

Judges will be told to increase damages by 10 per cent to ensure that those who win still receive the money they deserve.

Lawyers will also be forced to reach an agreement with their clients before a case begins over how much of the damages they will receive if successful. It is hoped that, by making lawyers compete for business in this way, success fees will be driven down significantly.

The number of claims made by ambulance-chasing solicitors is likely to fall as defendants – freed from the threat of massive costs – become more likely to fight back.

Daytime television is packed with adverts for 'no win, no fee' lawyers. They encourage people who have had even minor accidents at work or in their car to pursue civil claims.

In a report last year, Lord Justice Jackson said there had been a huge rise in civil litigation costs. The fees awarded to lawyers were sometimes more than 1,000 per cent of damages, he said.

People making claims in clinical negligence cases and other incidents where they have suffered harm will be able to do so without fear of huge costs.

A judge will be able to put a ceiling on the amount they will be made to pay even if they lose. This is designed to prevent people who have been seriously wronged from being afraid to claim compensation.

The moves come after Mr Clarke this month announced a string of reforms to Britain's defamation laws. In future, the rich and powerful will have to prove they have suffered or are likely to suffer 'substantial harm' from the words of their critics to sue successfully for libel.

A defence of 'honest opinion' would replace that of 'fair comment', meaning that it will be a defence against libel to establish that something was published responsibly, without malice and in the public interest.


ACLU: 'Communism is the Goal'

Irony is defined as "the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning." The term doublespeak means "evasive, ambiguous language that is intended to deceive or confuse."

There is perhaps no greater example of ironic doublespeak than inclusion of the phrase "civil liberties" within the inapt designation: "American Civil Liberties Union."

Indeed, few leftist organizations in existence today can compete with the ACLU in terms of demonstrated hostility toward what the Declaration of Independence describes as "certain unalienable rights" with which Americans are "endowed by their Creator."

Consider the doublespeak inherent throughout the "progressive" Goliath's flowery self-representation:

The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

Now contrast that depiction with ACLU founder Roger Baldwin's candid vision:

I am for socialism, disarmament, and, ultimately, for abolishing the state itself... I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.

Ironic, isn't it? So much for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." By combining straightforward segments from each ACLU rendering we arrive with an accurate portrayal. One that cuts through the doublespeak:

The ACLU is...working daily in courts, legislatures and communities. Communism is the goal.

In 1931, just eleven years after the ACLU's inception, the US Congress convened a Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities. On the ACLU it reported:

The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90 percent of its efforts are on behalf of communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press and free assembly, but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is an attempt to protect the communists.

To be sure, the "main function of the ACLU" is entirely counter-constitutional.

A shared objective between both Communism generally, and the ACLU specifically is the suppression of religious liberty; principally, the free exercise of Christianity.

Karl Marx, high priest of the ACLU's beloved cult of Communism, once said: "The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion."

Even the ACLU's own promotional materials overtly advocate religious discrimination: "The message of the Establishment Clause is that religious activities must be treated differently from other activities to ensure against governmental support for religion."

Utter hokum. The First Amendment's Establishment Clause -- a mere 10 words -- says nothing of the sort. Its message is abundantly clear, requiring severe distortion to stuff within the ACLU's Marxist parameters. It merely states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." That's it.

Now let's break it down. What do you suppose the Framers of the US Constitution -- a document expressly designed to limit the powers of federal government -- intended with the word "Congress"? Did they mean State government? Municipal government? Your local school district? Your third grade teacher?

Of course not. They meant exactly what they said: Congress. As in: The United States Congress! It takes someone with a distinctly disingenuous ulterior motive to derive anything else.

Now what did they mean by "...shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion?"

Well, in a letter to Benjamin Rush, a fellow-signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson -- often touted by the left as the great church-state separationst -- answered that question. The First Amendment's Establishment Clause was singularly intended to restrict Congress from affirmatively "establishing," through federal legislation, a national Christian denomination (similar to the Anglican Church of England).

Or, as Jefferson put it: "[T]he clause of the Constitution" covering "freedom of religion" was intended to necessarily preclude "an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States."

How far removed we are today from the original intent of our Founding Fathers. The ACLU is largely responsible for creating the gulf between the Constitution's original construction and its modern misapplication.

The ACLU remains one of America's most powerful secular-socialist political pressure groups. It relentlessly tramples underfoot the First Amendment, which guarantees sweeping and absolute liberty for all Americans -- including government employees -- to freely exercise their faith both publicly and privately without fear of reprisal: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Examples of its constitutional abuses are manifold, but one of the most recent involves an ACLU assault against a group of Christians in Santa Rosa County, FL. Liberty Counsel represents those Christians.

An ACLU-crafted Consent Decree has been used as a weapon to threaten school district employees with fines and jail time for merely praying over a meal, and for exercising -- even while away from school -- their sincerely held Christian faith. You read that right. The ACLU is literally seeking to criminalize Christianity.

In August of 2009, Liberty Counsel successfully defended staff member Michelle Winkler from contempt charges brought by the ACLU after her husband, who is not even employed by the district, offered a meal prayer at a privately sponsored event in a neighboring county.

Liberty Counsel also successfully defended Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman against criminal contempt charges, after the ACLU sought to have the men thrown in jail for blessing a lunch meal served to about 20 adult booster club members.

Under the Consent Decree teachers are considered to be acting in their "official capacity" anytime a student is present, even at private functions off campus.

Liberty Counsel describes this unconstitutional decree:

Teachers cannot pray, bow their heads, or fold their hands to show agreement with anyone who does pray. Teachers and staff cannot 'Reply' to an email sent by a parent if the parent's email refers to God or Scripture. Teachers either have to delete such references from the original email or reply by initiating a new email. Teachers and staff are also required to stop students from praying in their own private club meetings.

During witness testimony, Mrs. Winkler sobbed as she described how she and a coworker, who had recently lost a child, literally had to hide in a closet to pray.

Although the case continues, on Monday the ACLU suffered a tremendous setback while freedom took a significant step forward. Federal District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers granted in part a Preliminary Injunction in favor of Liberty Counsel's twenty-four Christian clients.

Judge Rodgers concluded that even though "a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy," one aspect of the Consent Decree -- its attempt to prohibit school employees from fully participating in private religious events -- is so flawed that it must be immediately halted.

The Court thus enjoined the School Board "from enforcing any school policy that restrains in any way an employee's participation in, or speech or conduct during, a private religious service, including baccalaureate" pending a trial on the merits.

"Progressives" are nothing if not consistent. As they gain confidence, they invariably rush across that bridge too far. They engage wild-eyed efforts to "fundamentally transform America" to reflect their own secular-socialist self-image.

I'm certain that both the bare-knuckle spirit of the American people and Liberty Counsel's enduring 92 percent win record against the ACLU will maintain a durable safeguard - an "impenetrable wall of separation" if you will - between our constitutionally guaranteed liberties and a subversive "progressive" agenda built upon the distinctly un-American creed: "Communism is the goal."


Glee’s Not for Me

Doug Giles

My friend, SNL’s Victoria Jackson, got verbally hammered by the female host of HLN’s Showbiz this week for “daring” to say in a recent WND column that two male teens making out on a recent episode of Glee was sickening. Jackson, according to HLN’s high priestess of political correctness, needs to repent.

Yep, Vickie offended a seminal creed of the Church of PC, an unpardonable sin of postmodernism, namely openly criticizing homosexual Hollywood activists as they proselytize your kids on primetime television. Bad Victoria. Bad, bad Victoria.

In actuality, in said column VJ was mainly criticizing woman-hating militant Islam. That, too, is a sin unto death according to “them.”

Another bridge too far and strike three for “evil” Vickie is that she often points out Obama’s communist roots, friends and philosophy in her columns, which, according to the “tolerant” progressives, is intolerable. By their estimation such sins damn Miss V to bake for all eternity in Dante’s pizza oven. Lucky for Jackson Pastor Rob “No Hell” Bell has informed us all in his latest heretical screed that no one goes to Hades because God is a merciful, celestial Gomer Pyle who’d never do that to a corrupt critter. Whew, eh Jackson?

Now, I’d like to go on record stating that I also think the gay Glee kiss was … uh … inappropriate. I also have gay friends who think the Glee kiss was way too gay and tasteless for primetime. Additionally, they believe Glee is an unreal, dorky show and are insulted that it is being pitched as “their” program. Are they haters? Are they homophobic?

Geez, everyone’s got to love and applaud Glee and its overt homo/heterosexual junk or we’re bigoted, buckle-shoed troglodytic killjoys. Musicians are even being jackbooted to love the show and want to be on it or the creators of this slop will verbally whip them. For instance …
Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl has lashed out at Glee creator Ryan Murphy for assuming all musicians are desperate to feature on the hit show. The rocker isn’t a fan of the high school singing and dancing program and insists he wouldn't want to follow in the footsteps of Madonna and Britney Spears, who have had their songs used in the series. And Grohl is fed up with Murphy slamming stars if they decide not to sign up to Glee.

“You shouldn’t have to do ___ing Glee. And then the guy who created Glee is so offended that we’re not, like, begging to be on his ___ing show ... I watched 10 minutes (of it). It's not my thing,” Grohl told the Hollywood Reporter.

“Slash was the first one. (Murphy) wanted to do Guns N’ Roses, and Slash is like, ‘I hate ____ing musicals. It’s worse than Grease.’ Then (Murphy’s) like, ‘Well, of course he’d say that. He’s a washed-up ol’ rock star. That’s what they ____ing do.’

“And then Kings of Leon say, ‘No, we don’t want to be on your show.’ And then he’s like, ‘Snotty little a**holes ...’ And it’s just like, ‘Dude, maybe not everyone loves Glee. Me included.’”

Now, before a reflexively irate PC cop gets out a label maker and tries to tag me as a homophobe for disliking Glee and siding with Jackson’s assessment of the previously mentioned homoerotic scene, let me assure you that I’m not. Just ask my gay friends in Miami.

By the way, if anyone, anywhere and at any time should bully a gay teen I would recommend that the teen who’s being harassed body slam the bully like Casey Heynes did Ritchard Gale. But I digress.
I’ll tell you what I am, Gleevangelical. Are you ready? I’m coming out. I’m wife-o-centric and becoming increasingly homonauseous, as I am way weary of the over-injection of gay sex in our kids’ faces via TV and their kindergarten curriculum.

I have a question for the militant Hollywood gay storm troopers in Testicle Town: Can’t you dudes leave the kids alone for a TV minute? Huh? You’re beginning to get as annoying as Jehovah’s Witnesses with your incessant evangelizing via the boob tube. Yep, you’re way overselling your amazing lifestyle.

That said, I’d like the record to state that overt heterosexual make-out scenes via TV between teens, tweens, middle-aged Cialis droppers and especially betwixt octogenarian Hugh Hefner and his 24-year-old gold-digger are all becoming really, really old as well. It appears as if the tide is going out on the creative juices of those who write for La-La-Land.

What pisses me off the most regarding Hollywood’s wholesale onslaught of teen sex, whether gay or straight, is their obvious omissions of the life-rattling consequences of giving free reign to the gibbering monkey in one’s pants.

Hey, Glee, I’ve got a script idea for you: Why don’t you show one of your randy characters contracting AIDS or one of its ubiquitous and multitudinous STD cousins or catching throat cancer by way of oral sex and HPV and then the physiological, psychological and spiritual hell that ensues, huh? Because that’s what’s happening in mind-boggling record numbers in real life. Yep, the likelihood of that scenario occurring to your target demographic, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is now through the roof … and I hear it’s not that gleeful of an experience.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, March 28, 2011

British racism still thriving

Middle-class youngsters barred from applying for internships at Whitehall and in the police... because they are white

White middle-class students have been banned from applying for internships with Britain’s biggest police force and in Whitehall. The temporary jobs, which offer thousands of pounds for work in the summer, are billed as the internships ‘that could change your life’. They provide students with invaluable work experience at a time of soaring graduate unemployment.

But critics yesterday told of their anger at the decision by the Civil Service and the Metropolitan Police to exclude all but certain ethnic minorities from applying. They say the schemes cause resentment among staff and are discriminating against white people ‘via the back door’.

The Metropolitan Police, which employs more than 50,000 people, publicly offers only one work experience programme. The 12-week Diversity Internship will pay six interns more than £3,000 to work in a range of departments. While there is no guarantee of a post at the end, it gives students a head start in the battle for police jobs.

But the application form says only students from specific ethnic groups – including black African, black Asian or Chinese – can apply. Applicants are also quizzed about religious beliefs and sexuality. The force offers a few other work experience places to students from specific colleges.

The Civil Service also has only one central internship programme – marketed as ‘two months that could change your life’ – and also specifically for students from ethnic minorities. The only white candidates eligible to apply for the Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship are those whose families are from ‘under-represented socio-economic backgrounds’. Others can get occasional work experience through individual departments.

The scheme, paying about £3,000, is a clear route to the prestigious Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme.

MPs, campaigners and police are furious that prominent public bodies are discriminating against white, middle-class students by denying them the chance to apply.

Tory MP Dominic Raab last night said: ‘We won’t end discrimination by introducing it via the back door. That is precisely what positive discrimination like this does.’

Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory MP who identifies himself as Kurdish, said: ‘These schemes are degrading. Margaret Thatcher didn’t need positive discrimination to become prime minister.’

One Met inspector said: ‘At a time when people in the Met are being offered voluntary redundancy, the Met funds such schemes. Such incentives can only fan the flames of racial division.’


The British disability benefit that's handed out to addicts and alcoholics

A disability benefit for those who cannot walk or get around properly is being given to tens of thousands of claimants with drug and alcohol problems.

Ministers say official figures revealing a startling range of conditions for which people claim the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance demonstrate the need for urgent reform.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show more than £435million is currently paid to 19,400 people with drug or alcohol problems, 30,900 with asthma and 128,300 with ‘unspecified’ back pain.
Playing around: Valerie Lewis was given a suspended prison sentence

Valerie Lewis received more than £40,000 in Disability Living Allowance, claiming she suffered back pain that meant she could barely walk.

But the mother-of-two played four nine or 18-hole rounds of golf a week and was lady captain of her local club.

The 55-year-old first claimed the disability benefit in 2001, insisting she had difficulty walking more than 7ft, getting dressed and even cutting up food or tying her shoelaces.

Fraud investigators filmed her teeing off at Sutton Hall Golf Club near Runcorn, Cheshire, loading her golf buggy, lifting clubs in and out of her car and walking ‘five or six miles’.

She was filmed at the 6,000-yard course in November 2008 after investigators received a tip-off that she was ‘fitter than stated’.

Lewis was further implicated by her own diary, which revealed she had played in a golf competition on the day of her very first disability assessment and rode a horse the day after.

In January she escaped jail after admitting failing to inform the Department for Work and Pensions about changes to her circumstances.

At Warrington Crown Court, Lewis, from Runcorn, was given a sentence of 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of community service.

And the number on DLA has risen from 2.5million in 2003 to nearly 3.2million.

There is increasing political controversy over Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s pledge to slash £2.17billion from the vast annual bill for DLA by 2015. Ministers say half of those being paid the benefit have never been asked for any evidence to support their claim beyond what they filled in on a form.

A Government analysis of DLA claims – which now cost the taxpayer £12billion a year – also shows nearly a million have been on the benefit for 14 years or more.

But cuts to DLA, which was designed to help those who have specific mobility or care needs, and cannot do things like walk or wash and dress themselves, are increasingly being criticised by charities and opposition MPs. The benefit is paid at different rates, with those with the most severe difficulty walking getting the higher rate of £49.85 a week.

Ministers say reforms will introduce face-to-face assessments to make sure the benefit is going to those with the greatest need. DLA will be replaced by a Personal Independence Payment and remain a non-means tested, non-taxable cash benefit claimed by the disabled whether they are in or out of work.

The Government also wants all claimants to undergo medical tests to justify payments. One source close to the reforms said: ‘At the moment someone with back pain could get £50 a week DLA mobility by simply filling out a paper-based assessment. ‘The new assessment will help to make sure the support goes where it is needed the most and that the benefit remains accurate.’

Labour councillor Neil Coyle, of the Disability Alliance, which represents 250 disability charities, said face-to-face tests would cost £675million. ‘If people are retested regularly it would be a significant waste of public money,’ he added. ‘The Conservatives pledged in their 2010 manifesto that they would protect DLA and now we are seeing a £2billion cut.’

Last week David Cameron dismissed protests from Labour leader Ed Miliband that 80,000 care home residents would be stripped of the mobility component of DLA. The Prime Minister said it would be included within the new Personal Independence Payment.

Business Secretary Vince Cable confirmed yesterday that some of his fellow LibDems are fighting separate plans to cap benefits at £500 a week per family, though he said he supported the policy.

Critics say a cap will hit families in areas where the cost of housing is highest.


Unease as British Labour leader ranks protest marchers alongside suffragettes

Ed Miliband was under fire last night for addressing Saturday’s march and comparing the protesters’ cause to that of the suffragettes, and the anti-apartheid and U.S. civil rights movements.

Some in Labour’s high command warned privately in advance that Mr Miliband should not associate himself in any way with the event, since it was bound to end in violence.

Yesterday Peter Hain, one of the Labour leader’s closest shadow Cabinet allies, remained defiant, insisting the march had been ‘joyous’. But there is deep unease among other senior Labour figures about Mr Miliband’s decision to ally himself so closely with the march.

Blairite MPs were alarmed at his claim to be ‘standing on the shoulders’ of some of history’s greatest movements in attacking spending cuts that, in truth, are only slightly deeper than those planned by Labour.

Mr Miliband told the crowd in Hyde Park: ‘We come in the tradition of those who have marched before us: The suffragettes, who fought for votes for women and won, the civil rights movement in America, who fought for equality and won, and the anti-apartheid movement, who fought the horror of that system and won.

‘Our cause may be different, but we come together today to realise our voice, and we stand on their shoulders. We stand on the shoulders of those who have marched and struggled in the past. Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the things that we value.’

David Davis, the former Conservative leadership candidate, described Mr Miliband’s comparison as an ‘extraordinary error of judgment’. ‘I suspect the brave people of the civil rights movement will be shocked to hear the Labour leader undertake such hyperbole as to compare a march like this to the sort of heroic acts they had to undertake to win fundamental rights,’ he said.

Harriett Baldwin, Tory MP for West Worcestershire, said: ‘Instead of apologising for maxing out the country’s credit card or spelling out where Labour’s cuts would fall, Ed Miliband compared himself to some of the giants of history. ‘His self-important comments are an insult to those who risked and gave their lives in the fight for equality.’


Far Leftist black accuses Breitbart of racism -- and Adrianna Huffington colludes with that

Breitbart incensed -- particularly as he has helped the huffer in the past. You don't have to be a racist to hold Van Jones in contempt

Amid pressure from left-wing advocacy organization Color of Change, the Huffington Post removed conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart’s blog from its front page last week. But Breitbart is furious that the liberal site’s top brass refused to defend him against the racism allegations made by Color of Change.

Color of Change and its founder Van Jones, the former White House green jobs czar who also previously advised Arianna Huffington during her 2003 California gubernatorial campaign, alleged that Breitbart was a racist during its pressure campaign.

In its statement last week explaining its decision to remove Breitbart’s blog from being featured on its front page because of what HuffPo called “ad hominem” attacks against Jones Breitbart made to The Daily Caller, HuffPo made no statement to defend Breitbart from allegations that he is racist, even though Breitbart told TheDC that site founder Huffington and her top deputy, editor Roy Sekoff, know he isn’t one. Breitbart even said Sekoff told him he recommended to Huffington that she publicly state that Breitbart is no racist – and allegedly had language ready in a statement for her to use.

“Roy said he put a statement for Arianna in that language [that Breitbart was not a racist] and she chose not to use it,” Breitbart told TheDC. Breitbart said he tried to reach Sekoff and Huffington several times after they removed him from HuffPo’s front page. After he finally got Sekoff on the line, Breitbart said Sekoff told him he was, “arguing with her [Huffington] that she should defend me on the race accusation that they’re making.”

“I consider it the height of ingratitude that Arianna sides with Van Jones whose hapless management of Arianna’s California gubernatorial campaign made her finish with less than 1 percent of the vote, yet I’m the one who resurrected her Van Jones-created demise to help create for her the very institution she’s now using to shut me up,” Breitbart, who helped Huffington set up her hugely successful left-wing website, told TheDC.

“The ingratitude is monumental and for her to be silent on the race question for cynical partisan reasons shows everything you need to know about this woman’s character. There’s a thread of hope in my heart that she will do the ethical thing and tell her audience what she really feels about my not being a racist.”

Sekoff and HuffPo spokesman Mario Ruiz would neither confirm nor deny to TheDC that Huffington removed language from last week’s statement defending Breitbart against charges of racism. But, through Ruiz, Sekoff told TheDC he does not think Breitbart is a racist.

“Roy absolutely does not think Andrew Breitbart is a racist, as he made clear to me during discussions this week about whether to continue front paging Breitbart,” Ruiz said in an email to TheDC. “He was taken down from the front not for being racist, but for the nature of his attack on Van Jones, as we’ve made clear.”



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

France not so feminist

It would seem that the despised Anglo-Saxons are less bothered about appearances than are the "sophisticated" French

The twin stereotypes about gender in France are wholly contradictory: on the one hand, they have titanic feminist theorists, from Simone de Beauvoir via Helene Cixious to Virginie Despentes, a tranche of thinkers so heavyweight that the rest of Europe couldn't match it if we pooled all our feminists. On the other hand, the mainstream culture looks quite sexist. The women seem bedevilled by standards that are either unattainable (to be a perfect size eight) or demeaning in themselves (to be restrained, demure, moderate in all things, poised; a host of qualities that all mean "quiet"). But this dichotomy is impossible. Either the feminist intellectuals had no impact, or the sexism is a myth.

Elsa Dorlin, associate professor at the Sorbonne, currently a visiting professor in California, dispatches the first quantity pretty swiftly. "French feminism is a kind of American construction," she says. "Figures like Helene Cixous are not really recognised in France. In civil society, there is a hugely anti-feminist mentality."

The standard structural markers of inequality are all in place: the figure proffered for a pay gap is a modest 12%, but this is what is known as "pure discrimination", the difference in wages between a man and a woman in exactly the same job, with the same qualifications. When the Global Pay Gap survey came out at Davos, France came a shocking 46th, way behind comparable economies (Britain is 15th, Germany 13th), and behind less comparable ones (Kazakhstan scored higher).

Female representation in politics is appalling, due to very inflexible rules about the pool from which the political class is drawn. All politicians come from the highly competitive set of graduate schools Les Grandes Ecoles (apart from Nicolas Sarkozy) which, until recently, had only a smattering of women, and none at all in Polytechnique (it is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence: women are now allowed in).

When there is a high-profile female face in politics, it is indicative of some force other than equality. At the local elections last week the two big winners were the Socialists, whose leader is Martine Aubry (daughter of Jacques Delors), and the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen (daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen). So what we're seeing there is not so much the smashing of the glass ceiling as a freak shortage of sons in a political culture so stitched-up that it's effectively hereditary.

As for the lived experience of being female, it sounds like hard work, even as described by women who say they love it. Thomasine Jammot, a cross-cultural trainer (who teaches travelling business people how they might overcome cultural misinterpretation, on their own or someone else's part) says that she does not feel discriminated against, nor objectified. "There is a permanent ode to women in France," she explains. "We are loved very well." But then she continues: "There are many things you can't do, as a woman, in France. You can't be coarse or vulgar, or drink too much, or smoke in the street. I would never help myself to wine." "How would you get more wine?" I ask, baffled. "At the end of an evening, I might shake my glass at my husband. But no, I would never touch the bottle."

Sometimes it sounds not so much sexist as so intensely gendered that even men must feel the weight of constraint, of expectation. But at least they won't have to do the laundry as well.

Bérengére Fiévet, 35, is a single mother and student in psychology, as well as a part-time teacher. "Nothing has changed much in the past 20 years. For men, women are just women: sex objects. Your appearance will change everything, even for an interview for a job. In France you employ anyone you like. If the interviewer thinks that you're too fat or ugly: dommage for you!"

This is underlined by a bizarre new initiative, Action Relooking, in which a handful of lucky unemployed French women are given a government makeover, in order to look pretty for a job interview.

"Women feel the pressure to maintain their 'physique' more in France than anywhere else in Europe," says Nicole Fiévet, 63, a senior council official. "The pressure comes from society itself, not only from men but women. I am still a bad example to talk about it. I spend my life to look after my garden more than me. As a result, I never found a husband."

It is against this backdrop – conservatism and rigidity, rather than an all-out war between the sexes – that a bitter struggle has developed which started with a schism between feminists but extends far beyond.

In 2002 it was made illegal to "passively solicit". Mainstream feminists – politicians, unionists, various figures who had grouped together in 1996 under the title CNDF – supported the law; as prostitution constituted violence against women it obviously should be outlawed. Activists countered that this denied prostitutes even the patchy safety of a busy street. They said, furthermore, that this was tacit racism, as these prostitutes tended to be from eastern Europe or Africa, and many were deported following the clampdown (even though there was a caveat offering clemency to any woman who named her trafficker; none ever did).

But underneath the practical injustice, there was a more pressing misogyny. Nellie, a member of the group Les Tumultueuses (she declines to give her surname in case it damages her position as a school teacher), explains: "How do you recognise someone who is 'passively soliciting'? By definition, she isn't doing anything. So you know her because her skirt is too short, or she is wearing fishnets, or she has too much make-up on. When you're not wearing enough clothing, you're a prostitute. When you're wearing too much, you're a Muslim. That's where we end up, if we judge people on how they dress."


Racist Hispanic group attacks black conservative

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained a shocking video produced by a radical Mexican separatist group attacking civil rights activist Ted Hayes with racist smears and death threats. The video was posted to the Internet on YouTube after Mr. Hayes testified, by invitation of Maryland Delegate Pat McDonough, on March 15 before the Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates against providing taxpayer dollars for in-state tuition benefits for illegal aliens.

The video begins with the message "[expletive] you 'Mayate,'" which is reportedly a racist and derogatory term used to smear African Americans and "dark skinned" people. The video then streams a series of racist images including: the silhouette of a man hanging from a noose, photos of Mr. Hayes adjacent to photos of monkeys and bananas and doctored photos of Mr. Hayes pictured with a gun next to his head. The video, which runs two minutes and nine seconds, concludes with the message "Your (sic) FREE Now Mayate go back to Africa."

The video was initially posted to the video website YouTube by a group with the moniker "The Timmytop," and was subsequently removed. The Timmytop Youtube "channel" includes a number of extremist propaganda videos with messages such as "This Is Our Land Whiteboy [expletive] you Gringo." The videos seem to express support for the La Raza/Aztlan movement, which seeks to conquer the American Southwest and "return" it to Mexico. Notably, the videos attack black and white Americans.

Mr. Hayes is a long-time opponent of illegal immigration, noting specifically that its devastating impact on the African American community is largely ignored by other black leaders. Death threats and intimidation of a witness because of his testimony before the Maryland legislature would violate federal and Maryland criminal statutes.

"Judicial Watch is outraged at the racist death threats and intimidation directed at the black civil rights activist Ted Hayes in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights. The debate over in-state tuition for illegal aliens in Maryland has been compromised and chilled by these threats," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The individuals responsible for this evil video must be held accountable to the rule of law. This is an attack on the entire black community, not just Ted Hayes. The Holder Justice Department and the Maryland Attorney General need to take immediate action to investigate these threats."


'Kinetic military action' is still hell

President Obama says there's no reason for him to return the Nobel Peace Prize he won two years ago, shortly after taking office, despite the obvious "irony" of America being involved in three different wars.

Uh, make that two wars and one "kinetic military action." That, at least, seems to be the administration's preferred term for describing the enforcement of the UN-declared no-fly zone in Libya. In fact, military and national-security officials can't seem to stop talking about America's current "kinetic options" and "kinetic capabilities."

Certainly, administration spokesmen have taken great pains to avoid referring to the ongoing operation as a war -- which would, of course, require the president to get congressional approval.

Now, there's nothing particularly new about this bit of Pentagon-speak. It simply means the use of active military force -- dropping bombs, firing weapons, and the like -- as opposed to things like cyberwarfare and the use of nonlethal, high-tech electronic gadgetry. Indeed, the Pentagon has been using the term since the early days of post-9/11 action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Back then, though, the term was ridiculed. Timothy Noah, for example, called its use by Donald Rumsfeld "unconscionably euphemistic, with antiseptic connotations derived from high-school physics."

Of course, Team Obama is well known for its use of euphemism when it comes to fighting radical Islam -- recall that the Pentagon once suggested replacing the term "global war on terror" with "overseas contingency operation." Not to mention that the very term "Islamic radicalism" was dropped from the National Security Strategy early on.

Still, to paraphrase Shakespeare, a war by any other name is still a war.


Strange British police priorities again

Police called and hours of CCTV footage scanned after ‘union men’ walk off with half a bottle of Scottish socialist's £14 wine. The coppers should have fobbed him off -- as they would have to anyone else

A Labour MP has been accused of wasting police time after he summoned an officer and two security guards to investigate the theft of half a bottle of wine from a Commons bar. Dunfermline MP Thomas Docherty claims two men, believed to be union activists, walked off with the unfinished £14 bottle of chardonnay. Even though the bottle was later returned to him, the men disappeared and Mr Docherty demanded they be apprehended.

In a scene straight from TV’s Crimewatch, a police officer was dispatched after midnight to scan CCTV footage in an effort to catch the pair.

Defiant Mr Docherty last night insisted he was right to make a stand and called for new checks on Commons visitors to stop a repeat of the theft. But one of Mr Docherty’s fellow Labour MPs thought the incident had been blown out of all proportion. He said: ‘To have two guards and a copper searching for a couple of blokes who ran off with a half-drunk bottle of wine left on a bar is daft.

‘Imagine if a member of the public did that in a normal pub. The police would laugh in your face.’

The incident, dubbed ‘chardonnay-gate’, happened at 11pm on Budget Day as MPs and visitors were in the crowded bar overlooking the River Thames. Mr Docherty left the bar to go out on to the terrace to have a cigarette. When he came back, he discovered his bottle was missing. He was then told by a barman that two men had taken the bottle on to the terrace.

The MP, accompanied by the barman, spotted the bottle standing on a parapet over the river and confronted the men. Mr Docherty, 36, grabbed the bottle, returned it to the bar and then went back on to the terrace to deal with the thieves. By the time he returned to the crime scene, the culprits had made their getaway.

But Mr Docherty, who last year led calls for MPs to abide by a Commons dress code after a woman MP allegedly turned up in jeans, was determined not to let the matter rest. He phoned security and a few minutes later a female guard arrived in the bar.

Mr Docherty and the barman gave her a detailed account of what happened, showed her the wine bottle – which by now was empty – and gave descriptions of the unlikely thieving duo; a short, young black man wearing a black jacket and an elderly white man with a walking stick.

The guard made comprehensive notes before leaving the bar. Other MPs said the ‘thieves’ had earlier attended a Trades Union Congress reception elsewhere in Parliament.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.